Roof Designers Put Lid On Outlook

“When computer users at London Roof Truss (LRT) in London, Ont., were reluctant to use the company’s new communication system, Wayne Bilger did something drastic to change their minds.

“Bilger, the systems administrator at this roof truss design and manufacturing firm, knew users wouldn’t stop using Microsoft Corp.’s messaging app Outlook to send and receive engineering drawings, schematics and other documents associated with building the roof structures that are LRT’s business. Bilger had sourced a new communication platform, SUSE Linux’s Openexchange server (SUSE is owned by Novell Inc.), and wanted users to move to the Linux-based system.

“So how did Bilger get users away from Outlook?

“‘I took it off all their computers,’ he said. ‘They were mad at me for about a month, but now every single one of them prefers it this way.’

Openexchange provides a Web-based interface so users can access documents from anywhere – important at LRT, where designers recently won the option of working from home, thanks to this functionality. Bilger also said the Novell-sourced system provides versioning, so should a customers want a design change, LRT need not start from scratch. Designers can access earlier designs and make amendments from there.”